Supplements Yeah They Work…But Enough To Make A Difference?
As many of you know, the market is flooded with supplements…and it seems like every new diet plan or workout regimen has their own set of supplements “you need for maximum results.” Whether you’re a body builder needing to bulk up, an average Joe trying to shed some pounds, or an everyday activity seeker, there are countless supplements for countless “benefits” out there. And, though they might work…some…even if it is just mental…I really don’t think any of them are worth the money.
Why I Don’t Buy Into The Supplement Game?
As many of you might know I’ve been an-everyday exerciser since the age of 12 and over the last 18 years I have tried a number of supplements. From creatine to glucosamine to ripped fuel to protein shakes, I’ve tried most of all the supplements suggested for normal guys and gals trying to get a bit bigger, thinner, and more tone.
After years of being on these supplements I really thought I needed them to help me get to where I wanted to be. But, as many of you might also know, I found myself near my 30th birthday still power-lifting, taking the supplements, with a shoulder injury, two bad knees, and years away from where I wanted to be.
Needless to say, as seen in the picture above, the supplements weren’t helping me get any closer to where I wanted to be.
So, when I got serious and decided to lose the 75 lbs. I had gained since getting married the first thing I did was cut every single supplement but one – whey protein.
The Only Supplement I Kept – Whey Protein in My Shake Diet
As you all may know, when it came time to get serious I decided to start my own shake diet. This diet consisted of a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner…? Well, no, not exactly. I actually had a shake for breakfast, a shake for snack, a shake for lunch, and then my normal dinners I was accustomed to having.
The shake was a frozen-fruit protein shake. I would buy the mixed frozen fruit bag from Costco, some fresh black berries, a serving of Greek Yogurt (this stuff is ridiculously good), and mix the fuits some Chocolate Whey Protein. I would make about 36 oz. and would drink 12 oz. for breakfast, 12 oz. for a mid day snack, and 12 oz. for lunch.
So, Why Keep The Protein?
The reason I would add the protein to shakes was because I was no longer eating the normal 12 – 18 eggs a day I would normally have (6 eggs for breakfast, 6 eggs for lunch, and at times 6 eggs as a snack). Nor was I eating the other proteins for breakfast or lunch I would normally intake. So, knowing protein was a big deal for muscles, naturally I thought I needed to replace the protein I was not eating with some protein supplement I would drink…and this little tidbit would be a huge deal when it came time to shed the extra stubborn pounds that hung around for nearly a year.
On my shake diet, along with my new personal workout approach, I lost 40 lbs. in about 3 months! But then The Year-Long Plateau hit and I didn’t lose a single pound for over a year!
P90X + Supplements, Results and Recovery
After losing 40 lbs. in 3 months time, I found myself a year later still cutting calories and working out via my own personal regimen with not even a single extra pound lost. Well, months of frustration made me realize it was time to try something new – and that’s when I turned to P90X and stated a new approach towards dieting and supplements.
Though P90X talks about and sells their Results and Recovery drink at every corner, I most be honest and say that I never took the supplement or any other Beach Body supplement.
Well, to be honest, it was because I was sick of taking one supplement or another for over the last 17 or so years and not really seeing the results I wanted. So, I tried something new. I thought to myself, “if I change the way I eat I might not need to supplement my intake…?”
Because of this new hypothesis I dropped the protein and all other supplements except for a one-a-day multivitamin…I mean, mentally, I could not stop all supplements cold turkey.
So, I was doing the P90X program (workouts + eating plan), running 2 miles every other day, and simply taking one multivitamin. In the first 30 days I had lost 10 lbs. and felt better than I had in years…except for my inner thighs burning day in and day out…don’t know why but P90X works my inner thighs like no other workout regimen I’ve ever done.
And Then Came LeanGains
About 45 days into P90X I switched from the P90X eating plan to LeanGains…and to be honest, changed the rest of my life. There were a number of reasons I decided to switch to LeanGains, reasons I’ll be addressing in a later post, but just know that financially it was a huge money saver and the research on Intermittent Fasting was showing naturally elevated muscle growth hormones without added supplementation. So, the switch was on and my lifestyle was forever changed.
On a quick side note, a lot of people talk about loving Intermittent Fasting for the “Zen-like feeling” they get when fasting…uhm…NO! I will be perfectly frank with you guys and let you know that I felt, and feel, no “Zen-like feeling.” I either feel normal or VERY HUNGRY…but I would never say I enter a “Zen-like feeling” unless I am eating a piece of steak, a slice of Costco Pizza, a vanilla milkshake, my wife’s apple cheesecake, a Ted’s burger, waffles with ice cream, limoncello bread pudding with ice cream, or Ted’s strawberry shortcake with…ice cream. But, nonetheless LeanGains did change my life and YOUR BODY WILL GET USED TO IT…more about this on a later post. FYI – I will be posting a LeanGains/Intermittent Fasting experience guide with tips I use in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned of that, especially if your on the fence about trying LeanGains.
And I Dropped ALL SUPPLEMENTS…Except for One
After about 18 years of supplement taking I had finally decided to give it all up and follow the LeanGains eating plan…which meant having to take BCAA Amino Acids while in the fasted state…so I didn’t technically give up all the supplements but almost.
Over the last year the only supplement I have taken has been the BCAA. The rest of my vitamins, minerals, fats, etc. come from my diet and what my body tells me it’s craving. This last note is pretty important – listen to your cravings!
Believe it or not, your body knows what it needs and, if you listen to it, you body will tell you what it needs to continue to grow and get healthier. So, listen to your cravings, and yes, even if you’re trying to lose weight, this means that chocolate craving (though in moderation). Listen to your cravings and make sure to get the fuel your body is asking for.
Supplements Vs. Nutrition
The point I am trying to make is that your body will broadcast what it needs…say you need some fatty acids…”umm, I feel like some Salmon”…say your low on iron…”man I feel up to steak.” Whatever the case may be, as long as you are eating a balanced diet and listening to your “healthy” cravings you wont need supplements. This my friend is a fact…I mean it’s in the word itself – supplements.
Supplements are meant to be…just that, a supplement to your diet.
So, if your getting all the nutrition you need via a balanced diet, you wont need to add, or supplement, anything to that diet. And that my friends is the main point of this post –
FOR MOST OF US OUT THERE SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT NEEDED.
Getting the Results Without Supplements
As seen below, in one picture I was taking all the supplements you could think of to build muscle and get toned…with absolutely no results other than being able to lift more weights at the gym. The next picture was when I was on the shake diet and just taking whey protein. Here I lost a good bit of weight but not a lot of toning going on and, when I hit the weight loss plateau, I was not where I wanted to be. In the final picture all supplements and vitamins were thrown out the window except for an amino acid drink….and poof! The results happened.
Power Lifting + Running
P90X2 + Lean Gains
Why Did The Results Happen With No Supplements?
Well, when you start eating instead of drinking all of your needed, and supplemental, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, etc. your body ends up using a lot more of the nutrition instead of just pushing them through your system. As hard as it is to hear or believe, especially for those of us spending lots of money on supplements, that is exactly what happens with a lot of the supplements we intake – we just pee them out. We pee them out because, for most of us anyways, we already have enough of the supplement in our systems due to our well balanced diet and the extra minerals, vitamins, etc. are removed from our system and discharged.
So, unless you’re body building, or have a natural deficiency, or a medical problem that is being addressed with supplements, and/or cant monetarily afford to eat your protein, fats, oils, etc. instead of drinking them, please stop peeing away your supplements and start eating them instead! You know, like we did in the good-ol’ days.